|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
March 23, 2000
CLINTON TO SOUTH ASIA: 'MOOD OF MUTUAL COURTSHIP' DOMINATES INDIA LEG;
VISIT PERCEIVED AS 'STRATEGIC SHIFT' TOWARD SUBCONTINENT
As initial assessments of President Clinton's "landmark" visit to the Indian subcontinent began to pour in from all corners of the globe, commentators determined that his stop in New Delhi had taken an extremely positive turn following the president's address to a joint session of the Indian Parliament yesterday. The vast majority of writers--hailing from almost every country, including India and Bangladesh--also placed the visit within a post-Cold War context, and concluded that the president's sojourn in the region reflected "a new thrust in U.S. diplomacy, one that has South Asia as an important pivot." Observers saw three key foreign policy themes as dominating Mr. Clinton's tour--the importance of opening new markets in South Asia, the thorny "knot" of Kashmir, and the U.S. desire to move India and Pakistan to sign the CTBT. Most analysts saw very little hope for progress on CTBT, given the U.S. Senate's failure to ratify the treaty in October of last year. Pundits were not overly optimistic, either, about the prospects for a solution to cross-border tensions in Kashmir, but writers outside of India and Pakistan felt that "only the U.S." could prevent Kashmir from "turning into a potential calamity for the entire globe." Additional themes follow:
INDIAN MEDIA WELCOME 'PARTNER FROM THE POTOMAC': Major Indian dailies judged that Mr. Clinton's "superbly presidential talk" to the Parliament had clearly "won him many admirers" in India, "as has"--said the nationalist Hindustan Times--"the seeming tilt in U.S. policy toward India" under his administration. Some noted that "beneath the veneer of cordiality and bonhomie" evident during the speech, differences still existed between India and the U.S. Those writers stressed nonetheless that Mr. Clinton's words had gone far to ease tensions between the two. On substantive issues, papers held that the Mr. Clinton's statements on the dangers of nuclear proliferation revealed "common sense" and welcomed his endorsement of the need for an "absence of violence" along the Line of Control in Kashmir. On Kashmir, the centrist Indian Express cited as "relevant" Mr. Clinton's query asking whether India has the "determination to solve [the problem]" without third-party mediation.
MIXED VIEWS FROM PAKISTAN: Some papers, such as mass-appeal Khabrain, contended that "not much...had been achieved" during the Clinton-Vajpayee meeting. That view was countered by the centrist News, which indicated that India's ties with the U.S. had been significantly strengthened by the Clinton visit. Others groused about the "special treatment being meted out to India" during the president's trip.
BANGLADESH, 'BITTER' AND 'SWEET' ASPECTS OF CLINTON VISIT: While many papers voiced extreme delight and "gratitude" at the U.S. president's visit, an equal number stressed that his failure to visit the National Memorial had caused great "hurt and dishonor."
EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 72 reports from 27 countries, march 20 - 23. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
INDIA: "Upswing In Indo-U.S. Relations"
An editorial in the centrist Hindu stressed (3/23): "U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to India has inaugurated what could be a brighter and more promising chapter in the history of the relationship between India and the United States, which has for long been a troubled and difficult one.... Clinton's interactions with the political leadership in New Delhi resulted in a decision to upgrade and intensify the diplomatic contacts between both sides.... No diplomatic 'spin' or attempt to finesse [the] differences [between India and the United States]...will camouflage the actual fact that beneath the veneer of cordiality and bonhomie, the American strategic view of the subcontinent has not changed in essence. Yet the more frequent diplomatic exchanges between India and the United States that have now been envisaged should certainly make it easier for both sides to place their differences in a context that is far less strained. Mr. Clinton proved to be a charming interlocutor and seemed to be at his persuasive best.... There was much in Mr. Clinton's remarks and interactions to suggest that he was receptive to India's concerns on terrorism...but it must be noted that Mr. Clinton and his officials were careful not to point a finger at Pakistan in the context of their denunciations of terrorism."
"Partner From The Potomac"
The centrist Indian Express offered this view (3/23): "Sense and sensitivity marked President Bill Clinton's address to the joint session of Parliament.... Clinton, an accomplished master in the art of partnership, was remarkably positive in defining the perceived Indo-U.S. partnership in terms of economy; market is the motivation.... Will India agree with Clintion on his concepts of security and strategy in the suddenly nuclear subcontinent? India should, considering Clinton had taken special care not to hurt Indian sensitivity on the so-called sensitive issues: Pakistan, Kashmir, nuclear proliferation and CTBT.... The U.S. president is in South Asia not to mediate on Kashmir. Still, Clinton's question is relevant here: Are you ready, or do you have the determination, to resolve it yourself? The sacred K-word, and we shudder at its mention: Who is the third man talking on Kashmir? This mindset has to change.... Clinton's sensible words on CTBT and nuclear non-proliferation are likely to be read by professional third worldists as the arrogance of a nuclear power. Sorry, it was not arrogance but common sense when Clinton said the consequences of proliferation are not confined along the border alone. Ideally, India doesn't require a Clinton to realize the futility of its misplaced fears about CTBT. Certainly, it is not a bad thing to have a Clinton talking some sense to the general next door. And he said he is going to do some talking in Islamabad. What matters...is his superbly presidential talk in the Central Hall of Parliament. India and the United States, the 'natural allies,' to go by Clinton's musical metaphor, have a long way to go before they can create a globally pleasing, mutually beneficial, symphony. We suggest make it jazzy."
"Man Of The Moment"
According to an editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times (3/23): "Even as Bill Clinton's visit continues to inspire rhetorical flourishes--'the beginning of a new voyage in a new century,' as Prime Minister Vajpayee told Parliament on Wednesday--there is little doubt that the relaxed personal style of the American president has won him as many admirers in this country as has the seeming tilt in the U.S. policy towards India under him....
"It is, of course, only after his visit to Pakistan that a full assessment of what his subcontinental trip implies can be made."
"Reversing The Tilt"
The centrist Pioneer averred (3/23): "If one were to identify the most significant statement made by President Clinton during his visit to India, then it is clearly the one on Tuesday, 'You cannot expect a dialogue to go on unless there is absence of violence and there is respect for the Line of Control (LoC).'... That the United States has been able to recognise all this and reset its foreign policy sights despite India's nuclear tests in Pokhran in May, 1998, is a tribute to the sagacity of its leaders, business community and opinion shapers. Equally, it is a tribute to the maturity of Indian leaders.... The two most important democracies of the world have come close after five decades of lost opportunities. Let them not drift apart again."
"Can Clinton Convince Musharraf?"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan opined in the centrist Hindu (3/23): "Senior government officials believe that India has good reasons to feel vindicated by the U.S. president's public assertion that ending violence by Pakistan was an essential prerequisite for the resumption of the an Indo-Pakistan dialogue.... If the United States is worried about a nuclear flashpoint in the sub-continent and wants the Indo-Pak. peace process to resume, it is up to Mr. Clinton now to convince Pakistan to get off the dangerous course it has embarked on. Besides the new realism in the American position on Kashmir, officials here say, the visit will help India and the United States realize the full potential of their relationship."
"Uncle Sam Crosses A Line"
The centrist Asian Age's editorial emphasized (3/23): "The U.S. president's address to the joint session of Parliament was a diplomatic marvel that was directed at allaying the worst suspicions, and projecting Uncle Sam as a benign brother wedded to the same democratic interests as India. But the language did not hide the harsh truth. And that was: There is no shift in U.S. policy on non-proliferation, India-Pakistan relations, and Kashmir.... Of course, [Mr. Clinton] did make a departure in the case of the Line of Control, insisting...repeatedly...that [it] should be respected. Warmth and cordiality apart, the strategic results of the visit will unfold slowly. But today it can be confidently said that President Clinton has indeed crossed the line dividing those who have seen the Taj Mahal and those who have not."
"A New Partnership"
The pro-economic-reforms Business Standard declared (3/23): "The United States and India are natural partners who somehow have been missing the bus so far. The [vision statement] is a desire to get that partnership going...[and] does not try to gloss over differences.... Visions are in the mind and realities are on the ground. Extended effort is needed to shape the latter in the light of the former. To spell out the vision is a good way to begin."
"Partners In Peace"
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times held (3/22): "The warmth evident in the 'vision' statement, as well as the outlining of the 'architecture' of high-level consultations suggest that the present hype about an improvement in Indo-American relations is not without substance....
"If New Delhi has found satisfaction in securing American cooperation in fighting terrorism, which is likely to put Pakistan at a severe disadvantage, Washington will probably see in India's commitment to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons a hint of a favorable response to the U.S. pleas for signing the CTBT."
The centrist Times of India had this editorial (3/22): "As Mr. Clinton said, there can be no peace in the region unless the sanctity of the Line of Control in Kashmir is respected and an end is put to terrorism.... Some clear talking in Pakistan will help convince everyone concerned that the vision statement is really as clear-sighted as its signatories would have us believe."
The centrist Pinoneer judged in an editorial (3/22): "President Clinton's endorsement of India's position...on the Line of Control...is a most positive development.... If the differences [on CTBT] are addressed in the spirit of friendship so palpable during the visit, there need not be much trouble on the score and President Clinton's visit to India may well turn out to be a watershed in Indo-U.S. ties."
The pro-economic reforms Economic Times told its readers (3/22): "For those who had expected President Clinton's visit to provide a dramatic shift in Indo-U.S. relations, the vision statement...is bound to be a bit of a dampener.... And even where differences are not explicitly recognized, the statement sidesteps the more contentious aspects of the issue."
"Carnage Most Foul"
An editorial in centrist Pioneer contended (3/22): "In a massacre obviously timed to coincide with U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to India, terrorists...gunned down 40 persons in the Anantnag district late on Monday evening.... There can hardly be any doubt that this latest manifestation of Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism is another pathetic and dastardly attempt to internationalize the Kashmir issue and remind President Bill Clinton...that Pakistan cannot be ignored. It is perhaps also an attempt to pressure President Clinton to take up, with greater force than what was initially intended, the Kashmir issue during his talks with Prime Minister Vajpayee."
"Needed, A Dose Of Realism"
Associate editor K. K. Katyal maintained in the centrist Hindu (3/21): "There are good reasons to be upbeat [about the Clinton visit], but there is an equally strong justification to be realistic.... There will be a close focus...on enhancement of bilateral ties... [But] the Indian side would be deluding itself if does not take into account...the strength of the sentiments against India's 'historic mistake'--Washington's description of the 1998 nuclear tests--or America's passion for conflict prevention in the subcontinent."
"Clinton Comes Amid Asian Geopolitical Flux"
Strategic affairs editor C. Raja Mohan had this to say in the centrist Hindu (3/20): "No one could have planned this. But a series of diplomatic moves in Washington on the eve of...Bill Clinton's visit may have begun to open up greater space for political cooperation between India and the United States.
"The incipient U.S. rapprochement with Iran, renewed defense contacts between Washington and Hanoi, and the increasingly uncertain relations between the United States and China over Taiwan and a host of other issues may have begun to impart an unexpected strategic content to Mr. Clinton's visit to India. Clinton and...Vajpayee will indeed sign a vision statement, that will set out the future direction of Indo-U.S. relations.... Even the limited rhetorical flourishes of the vision statement--celebrating the common commitment to democratic values, focus on greater political engagement in future, and the hopeful quest for a strategic partnership--are likely to acquire some significance in the context of the evolving dynamic of the American policy towards Asia."
Sashanka S. Banerjee averred in the centrist Telegraph (3/20): "Empowering India seems to be the best option available to the United States.... To crown his visit to India, Clinton should offer support for India's bid for permanent UNSC membership.... China, naturally, will not like this.... India, as a strategic counter, would work wonderfully in the United States' favor."
"What The Visit Means"
The pro-economic-reforms Business Standard insisted (3/20): "A visit like President Clinton's...is above all else a symbol.... If the visit goes well, India and the United States could get on to a better footing than they have ever been."
PAKISTAN: "Vajpayee's Somersault"
An editorial in Lahore's mass-appeal, Urdu-language Khabrain underscored (3/23): "The Indian leadership has adopted a very aggressive posture over the last ten months. Now that President Bill Clinton is in India, they (the Indian leadership) have held out all sorts of assurances just to appease President Clinton. It had been anticipated that the way to a meaningful dialogue would open with President Clinton's visit, and that he would exert his influence to defuse the situation. Not much success seems to have been achieved during the Clinton-Vajpayee meeting, however."
Pro-Muslim League, Urdu-language Pakistan indicarted (3/23): "We welcome President Clinton's efforts for an enduring peace in the South Asian region. His assessment that Kashmir is a nuclear flash point is very close to reality. To put India on a rational path, however, the United States cannot afford to exercise prudence designed to serve its own political and economic interests. Lifting of sanctions on India and (improved) trade relations should be linked to progress on the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue."
"Clinton's Visit To India--Initial Results"
Irshad Ahmad Haqqani penned this op-ed in leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang (3/23): "Now it is possible to say that the chances of a resolution of the Kashmir issue will brighten further than ever before due to the visit of President Clinton to South Asia."
"What Should We Say To Clinton"
Hamid Mir argued in Islamabad's popular Ausaf (3/23): "When President Clinton comes to Pakistan, he should be informed clearly about the hegemonic designs of India. General Pervez Musharraf should not adopt an apologetic posture and should tell President Clinton that India has not only enhanced its defense budget but has also targeted its missiles towards Pakistan."
"A New Alliance"
An editorial in the centrist News contended (3/23): "If the Indians are chortling with delight over the ongoing visit of President Bill Clinton, it is understandable. The visit has produced for Delhi varied multiple institutional linkages with the United States, besides paeans of praise from Mr. Clinton for democratic stability and economic performance.... It is self-deception to believe that an engagement on the scale the United States has started with India will not give more weight to Delhi's clout on Capitol Hill and that it will not strengthen India's voice in the comity of nations on critical issues like Kashmir, terrorism and Afghanistan. Pakistan's challenge, then, will be dealing with an adversary that now stands next to the knee of a superpower."
"New Delhi Parleys"
According to an editorial in the center-right Nation (3/23): "The special treatment being meted out to India is bound to cause considerable concern in Pakistan, which remained an American ally throughout the Cold War. With the announcement that some of the sanctions imposed earlier on India are being withdrawn, the question is bound to be raised in Pakistan whether the country would have been discriminated against if it were ruled by an elected government."
"A Decisive Juncture In Pak-U.S. Relations"
Mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang offered this editorial view (3/21): "The history of diplomacy is replete with events in which the resolution of chronic conflicts was found in minutes. In the recent past, after meeting for a few hours with President Clinton in Washington, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made important decisions about the Line of Control.... If the two sides are sincere, these few hours [of Clinton's visit] could bear results as well.... Emphasis should be on what benefits for Pakistan could be obtained from the United States.... What are the subjects and sectors where the two countries do not have differences of opinion? Cooperation in such sectors should be announced, at least."
"Beyond The Media Hype"
The center-right Nation opined (3/22): "Despite all the media hype about President Clinton's visit to Bangladesh and India, it may just be that the real success of Clinton's trip may lie in what he has been able to achieve in bringing some change in India's stance on the issue of occupied Kashmir."
"Questions Before Clinton"
An op-ed column by M.H. Askari in Karachi's independent Dawn judged (3/22): "The state of near euphoria in India's ruling establishment over President Clinton's arrival...was in marked contrast with the mutually aloof, indeed resentful, attitude that has characterized Indo-U.S. relations.... If Clinton feels genuinely disturbed by prevailing tensions in the subcontinent, he has the opportunity to discuss the matter with leaders in New Delhi. He can bring home to them the importance of being realistic about the situation in Kashmir."
"Will Clinton Speak For People?"
The centrist, national News featured this story (3/21): "Since its inception, Pakistan has looked to Washington for its patronage more than to any other world power. As Clinton's tour of South Asia gets underway, he has become the talk of the town. Even an ignorant villager from a far-flung village of the Punjab or Sindh seems ready to talk about his forthcoming visit to Pakistan.... On the eve of Clinton's South Asian tour, Pakistan holds an advantageous position. Since Clinton will visit Pakistan on the last leg of his tour, Pakistan will be able to see how successful [he] was in impressing upon India the need to end hostilities and find a mutually agreeable solution to the issue of occupied Kashmir. If he is able to bring India around to holding meaningful talks, Pakistan should reposition itself at once. His visit may carry a ray of hope, the silver lining of a bright future for Pakistan."
"Making The Most Of Clinton Visit"
The centrist, national News judged (3/21): "Regardless of how we may feel about America's tilt toward India and her according us--a long-time Cold War ally--a lesser priority, we must make the most of Mr. Clinton's short visit to Pakistan. We must address U.S. concerns, as well as our own, with concrete proposals. We must not waste this opportunity with vague diplomatic gestures and empty statements. We can only break the ice on major issues confronting the region by being bold and imaginative."
"Independent Kashmir: U.S. Goal"
An editorial in second-largest, Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt held (3/21): "It appears that in order to give India relief, create new problems for Pakistan and create subversion on China's border, America is bent upon forcing a solution seeking the independence of Kashmir. The American president's visit is a part of the plan."
"President Clinton in South Asia"
An editorial in pro-Muslim League, Urdu-language Pakistan held (3/20): "We understand that by virtue of its world status, America can play an effective role in ending Indian military atrocities on the Kashmiri people. Cessation of Indian troops' excesses on Kashmiris is a prerequisite for a South Asia free of the danger of war. And then comes creation of a conducive atmosphere through meaningful dialogue which could lead to resolving the Kashmir dispute in keeping with UN resolutions. If President Clinton could help initiate meaningful political dialogue, South Asia will be indebted for his trip and the visit will become a memorable event of world history."
"U.S. President's Trip To South Asia"
An editorial in the popular, Urdu-language Din maintained (3/20): "The American president will have to convince the Indian leadership of a fair solution of the Kashmir issue--the sole cause of [regional] tension, confrontation and bitterness. It is not difficult to comprehend that if India continues to provoke Pakistan unnecessarily, Pakistan will be forced to defend itself. The American president should inform the Indian leadership that once war starts, it cannot be 'limited,' despite one's wishes."
BANGLADESH: "Clinton Should Have Visited The National Memorial"
Pro-government, Bangla-language Janakantha asked (3/23): "Was it totally impossible to bring the memorial area under the security system which was established in Dhaka during the visit of the U.S. president? According to us, that was possible. The program would not have been canceled if the United States had realized how painful it would be to the people. We are hurt. We think that President Clinton will be remembered as the first U.S. president to visit Bangladesh. He will also be remembered as the only visiting head of state who did not go to the National Memorial, which is so dear to the people.... If the president had visited the National Memorial, many of the mistakes made by the United States in 1971 could have been corrected. From this angle, it is doubtful whether this trip can be considered to be a complete visit.
"Clinton Visit: Bangladesh's Profit And Loss"
Anti-West Inqilab averred (3/23): "The important thing to the United States is that the Indian government is anti-Muslim. Therefore, Clinton has found the Indian leadership to be a solid ally. Although Clinton speaks of establishing peace in Kashmir, he gives no importance to the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. In fact, although Americans practice democracy and human rights at home, they pay more importance to their interests with respect to other countries.... Bangladesh did not receive more than some empty assurances during the visit of the U.S. president.
"Clinton's Visit: Our Achievements"
Pro-government, Bangla-language Bhorer Kagoj featured this editorial (3/23): "The visit of President Clinton has created mixed reactions--some bitter, some sweet. The cancellation of the visit to the National Memorial has generated the most bitter criticism.... All, irrespective of party affiliations, were hurt and felt dishonored. Their dissatisfaction is justified. However, the visit has some positive aspects. During his talks with the leader of the opposition, President Clinton suggested that she resolve political differences in a constructive way. We hope his suggestions will discourage the opposition's interest in destructive politics."
Independent Jugantor had this to say (3/23): "The cancellation of the visit to the National Memorial for security reasons is an insult to the entire nation.... Although President Clinton has expressed his sincere regrets, our pain will not go away easily."
"A Positive Visit"
An editorial-page article in the independent, English-language Daily Star opined (3/23): "There appears no doubt that the visit of the U.S. president will deepen and widen the happy state of bilateral relations that have been forged between the two countries over the years.... Someone quipped, if one visit of the U.S. president could achieve so much common identity and approach of the two major conflicting political parties, then he should visit Bangladesh more often to resolve many differences that exist between them and evolve a consensus!"
"The Visit Of The U.S. President"
Pro-government, Bangla-language Janakantha commented (3/22): "Undoubtedly, the [Clinton] visit...was a remarkable success for the ruling government....
"We believe that U.S. assistance will help Bangladesh to utilize the economic and development prospects that have been created."
"The Visit Of Bill Clinton"
Independent, Bangla-language Prothom Alo opined (3/22): "We consider the visit of President Clinton a highly significant event. The immediate gains from the visit include laudatory recognition of Bangladesh's commitment to democracy, its tolerance of plurality and its positive role in the international arena.... We are extremely grateful to Clinton for visiting Bangladesh."
The centrist, English-language Independent maintained (3/22): "The Clinton visit...is effectively a recognition of the new niche Bangladesh has carved out among policymakers in Washington.... On a larger scale, the Clinton visit to the subcontinent is a reflection of a new thrust in American diplomacy, one that has South Asia as an important pivot."
NEPAL: "Analyzing Clinton's Visit"
The centrist Kathmandu Post maintained (3/23) in an opinion piece: "The United States' business interest in India is well known.... India is the second largest market in the world. By setting up 'hard-cash' relations with China, Clinton's desire to leave a worthwhile legacy of his presidency and play peacebroker in South Asia has now been established.... Pakistan's military regime played its cards well and ultimately forced the United States to...guide its foreign policy...by long-term strategic interests and not just by the blah-blah democracy...it occasionally tries to convey.... The Clinton administration's determination to institute intimate relations with a dominant power of each region and influence the vicinity in that manner needs scrutiny and careful examination. At the same time, President Clinton's forthright remarks [on potential dangers in the region]...require cautious study.... As far as we are concerned, it is more important for our business society and intellectual community to wake up to this new reality of IT and e-commerce gaining prominence in international relations than to the traditional practices of diplomacy. We have to learn to deal with a changing America or, for that matter, changing faiths in the conduct of international relations, maybe by putting our industrialists and entrepreneurs on the forefront."
SRI LANKA: "President Clinton's Visit"
The opposition, English-language Island ran this editorial (3/20): "The Indian subcontinent...has been off the U.S. geopolitical radar screen for long years after World War II. It was only after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 70s that the region came into sharper focus of the U.S. State Department.... South Asians are in an unenviable position vis-a-vis the Americans--that of a poor man against a rich man: Stand not too close to the rich man lest he grabs thee and not too far away lest he forgets thee. And that is why this Clinton visit is so important to the region. Whether you like the Americans or not, in these times you've got to be with them.... The success of the current visit will depend on how far President Clinton can bring about a reconciliation among the two warring big brothers of the subcontinent."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Clinton's Visit To India: An Arduous Task"
Official Beijing Morning Post (Beijing Chenbao) noted (3/21): "President Clinton's visit to India is described by the media as a strategic shift in American policy toward India.
"Analysts predict that an improved relationship with India, an open Indian market and tremendous commercial benefits will be the major fruits of President Clinton's trip."
"U.S. Adjusts South Asian Policy"
Ma Shikun and Zhang Yong wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 3/20): "President Clinton's visit to South Asia is considered an historic milestone-like adjustment in the U.S. policy toward India.... After the collapse of Soviet Union, the United States views its cooperation with India with mounting importance. Therefore, it shifts its strategic focus from Pakistan...to India. The U.S. method of kicking down the ladder could do nothing but sow seeds of instability in the region, thereby hurting its own interests in the end."
HONG KONG: "Poles Apart"
The independent South China Morning Post emphasized (3/23): "The difference today is that both sides have nuclear weapons, making any new war a global catastrophe. Both wrap their Kashmiri claims in angry righteousness and reject any talk of shifting the frontier, revising political control or moving rationally toward settlement. Violence too often is the preferred option. Mr. Clinton won't change those attitudes this week. But unless both sides soon find some common ground, they may yet blunder into a nuclear disaster far more costly than their foolish wars to date."
JAPAN: "U.S.-India Cooperation Meets Needs Of New Era"
Moderate Tokyo Shimbun held (3/23): "Following the Clinton-Vajpayee meeting in which the two leaders pledged to promote mutual cooperation in political, economic and national security areas, the U.S.-India relationship is expected to experience a historic turnaround.... Although the president did not apply any strong pressure on India to sign the CTBT or settle the Kashmir conflict with Pakistan, his trip should not be underestimated.... Japan should also develop its own diplomacy toward South Asia as regional peace and stability will also serve the interests of Japan."
"U.S. Must Contribute To Peaceful Settlement Of Indo-Pak Conflict"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (3/22): "Although Mr. Clinton failed to obtain India's commitment to signing the CTBT...[his] visit to India...will put finishing touches on eradicating the Cold War legacy in South Asia."
SINGAPORE: "Clinton's Last-Ditch Effort"
Pro-government, Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao editorialized (3/22): "In view of the multitude of problems facing South Asia and the short remaining tenure of office of the U.S. president, people may look forward to his visit with some expectations but not too much optimism.... In a broader perspective, his trip represents an important step taken by the United States to try to expand its influence in the South Asian region. India is the most important leg of President Clinton's current tour [because of] the Indian market for American telecommunications products...Kashmir...[and] the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.... President Clinton is unlikely to make too much headway in these three areas.... President Clinton's visit to Pakistan has...indirectly, given tacit recognition to its ruling body. In the context of rivalry between India and Pakistan, his visit to Pakistan as part of his South Asian tour could be seen as a victory for Islamabad."
VIETNAM: "A Trip To Rediscover South Asia"
Hong Ky commented in the lead editorial of Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army), the newspaper of the Ministry of National Defense (3/23): "President Clinton's visit to the three South Asian nations is more than a trip to 'rediscover' a land the United States has neglected for some time. It also demonstrates an important policy adjustment by the United States, which is restoring its influence and laying a new foundation for U.S.-South Asia relations in the transitional period to the new century."
BRITAIN: "How India Has Fallen For The American Dream"
Foreign editor Bronwen Maddox filed this op-ed commentary from New Delh (3/22) for the conservative Times: "Skeptics who have written off the Clinton trip are too bleak. The Kashmir eruption will give more bite to America's message that it has real levers over India and Pakistan. The symbolic value of his message may be even greater. Like him or hate him, most would credit Bill Clinton with a talent for sounding the big themes of liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a way which crosses cultures.... It would be wrong to write off the trip. Mr. Clinton's visit has value if only as an endorsement of the inspiration which American culture and commerce now provides, to the benefit of millions of its people."
"Clinton Visit Can Make A Difference, However Small"
The centrist Independent featured this lead editorial (3/20): "Mr. Clinton has been criticized in some quarters for going ahead with his trip to Pakistan...[but] the trip will, however, prove well justified if it makes even an iota of difference in the search for regional stability and peace."
"Clinton Visit Realizes Indian Dream"
The conservative Times stated (3/20): "President Clinton's mission may do little to cool tension on the subcontinent, but it will triumphantly advertize the grip which the American Dream now has on India. Although the nuclear question and the simmering Kashmir conflict hang over the visit, the mood is one of mutual courtship."
FRANCE: "Bill Clinton Between India And Pakistan"
Right-of-center Les Echos maintained (3/23): "India is welcoming the leader of the last superpower of a multipolar and split world. Hence, we need to look at the results achieved during this trip with a magnifying glass, before concluding, as some have, that nothing has been accomplished.... On Kashmir, Clinton seems to have softened his position...but when he briefly visits Pakistan on Saturday, he will bring the same message of moderation, although more firmly."
"Diplomacy Stimulated By Technology"
Marie-France Calle judged in right-of-center Le Figaro Economie (3/21): "Like Richard Nixon's trip to China, in 1972, President Clinton's trip to India is a landmark. In both cases, the United States is acknowledging the emergence of a superpower."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine told its readers (3/23): "But just as America's influence is limited with respect to the regional Indian-Pakistani conflict, if it exists at all, Clinton's [efforts to exert influence] in matters of nuclear testing would be more credible if America could lead by example. But that it cannot do. The Senate has not signed the test ban treaty. There are many reasons for this, one of which was the..slipshod preparation by the White House. When Clinton plays the role of world teacher, he says things worth thinking about. The assumption that India's national security will not be helped by owning nuclear weapons is one [of these worthwhile comments]. In his own country, however, Clinton lacks the same persuasiveness under the conditions of a politically and institutionally polarized competition."
"Clinton Builds Up Indians"
Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich judged (3/23) in an editorial: "The Clinton visit is a complete success for India: They can ignore whatever mild criticism there is, and they can enjoy being suddenly courted with warm words and a friendship treaty. In addition, India's opponent Pakistan received a reprimand. Clinton spoke of 'elements' in the military government which support violence in Kashmir. That is the way to make friends in India. However, it will do little to promote a more relaxed situation in Kashmir. An India bursting at the seams with pride, after all, is as dangerous for peace as a cornered Pakistan."
Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/22) front-paged this editorial: "India, despite its internal heterogeneity, is a place of stability in comparison with China's party dictatorship whose structure has a built-in time bomb. The symbolic recognition expressed by the Clinton visit is thus a good political investment in the future."
"President Inspects Minefield"
Andreas Baenziger noted in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/20): "Clinton is not exaggerating one bit when he calls the Indian subcontinent 'the most dangerous place in the world.'... The situation is so complicated that Clinton's visit could even deepen the tension.... How exactly Clinton plans to implement the new U.S. policy, without forcing Pakistan into complete isolation, remains his secret."
ITALY: "A Turn In Clinton's Asia Policy"
Provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio opined (3/21): "Bill Clinton's trip to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan represents a turn in the American president's geopolitics.... Clinton should have made this trip at the time of the nuclear race between Indian and Pakistan.... He should have gone to India and Pakistan last year when an unofficial war broke out in the Kashmir mountains.... Clinton's turn in his Asia policy is made even more complicated by the unexcepted victory of the Independent Party leader in the Taiwanese elections, with the connected challenge to China. India maintains that its nuclear missiles are not just a warning to Pakistan, but also a defense against possible threats from China."
RUSSIA: "No Easy Visit"
Yevgeny Antonov said in reformist Vremya Novostei (3/21): "The visit is not going to be easy--it will not resolve Washington's concerns.
"One of them, nuclear safety, is the uppermost. To have New Delhi and Islamabad sign a treaty would be a real coup...but that, evidently, is impossible.... It looks as if the historic visit will disappoint the United States, as well as India and Pakistan."
Aleksei Tamilin filed from New Delhi for centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (3/21): "Clinton's current tour is in essence a visit to India. That the U.S. president has decided to make it at this difficult moment is a sign that the Americans have come to realize the benefits of India as a market and want to cooperate with it."
AUSTRIA: "U.S. Has Not Yet Launched Post-Cold War Policy In South Asia"
Foreign affairs writer Brigitte Voykowitsch argued in liberal Der Standard (3/23): "The United States has not yet seized this opportunity to launch a South Asia policy deserving of the name. During his term, Clinton has shown more interest in Rwanda and Haiti than in India, as not only the Times of India noted. Today, U.S. representatives may pathetically call the subcontinent the 'most dangerous place in the world.'... Clinton's meeting with the new Pakistani military ruler this week will be meticulously followed by New Delhi. Its content and Washington's future policy will count more than any peace babble."
"Clinton Powerless To Stem Subcontinent's Nuclear Race"
Contributing editor Wieland Schneider remarked in conservative Die Presse (3/22): "While the heads of state talked about peace, violence dominated: Three dozen civilians were brutally killed in Kashmir--as sort of a macabre 'welcome' for U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is trying to act as a peacemaker between India and Pakistan, who have been quarreling over...Kashmir for decades.... The archenemies...know that their populations are longing, not just for bread, but for missiles--a strategy against which Clinton's appeals for disarmament will probably remain powerless."
BELGIUM: "Nuclear Issue Overshadows Visit"
Erik Ziarczyk pointed out financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (3/21): "In recent weeks, observers have warned the U.S. government repeatedly that it must not make its South Asia policy too dependent on Indian and Pakistani concessions in the nuclear field. If Clinton succeeds in launching a new Pakistani-Indian dialogue, it will not only contribute to security in the region. More stability in South Asia is also good for the U.S. economy and strategic interests.... For that reason, it is crucial that Clinton not only tightens the ties with India, but also that he does not neglect Pakistan."
CROATIA: "America's Indian Card In Game With China"
Tomislav Butorac queried in influential Vjesnik (3/20): "If Clinton can use his visit to foster U.S.-Indian cooperation, that might help Prime Minister Vajpayee to break India's resistance to negotiations over Kashmir. Clinton will not mediate--as in the Middle East or Northern Ireland--but he will urge the two sides to at least resume the dialogue, which last year resulted in Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's spectacular bus trip to Pakistan."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Clinton's Uneasy Mission"
Kveta Subrtova argued in economic Hospodarske noviny (3/23): "The mission of President Bill Clinton to Bangladesh, India and Pakistan...is not easy....
"Clinton has aimed at large and international tasks. First, he would like to be the one who decreases tension...over Kashmir. And he also wants to persuade New Delhi and Islamabad to limit their nuclear programs."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Clinton As Peacemaker"
Centrist Algemeen Dagblad speculated (3/22): "President Clinton could add quite a lot to his reputation as a peacemaker...if he manages to get India and Pakistan to the negotiating table.... Clinton does not have much more than his own strength to convince people. He can make the countries realize that they would be better off with reconciliation and trade than by spending billions on hostilities and the production of nuclear weapons."
POLAND: "Let America Do Something About It"
Robert Stefanicki observed in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (3/21): "Washington has understood quite late how crucial South Asia is in the [post-Cold War world], namely, that it is worth having good relations with India which is turning into a power to balance the influence of China and Russia in the region, and worth saving America's former ally, Pakistan, from falling down into the precipice of dictatorship, terrorism and fundamentalism."
SPAIN: "Clinton Atop A Powder Keg"
Independent El Mundo concluded (3/20): "President Clinton...wants to end his term in office by being seen as a peacemaker, complementing his image as a good manager of the economy. His visits to India and Pakistan will not have the impact of last Saturday's meeting with the leaders of Northern Ireland, although any progress will be welcome."
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
EGYPT: "The Indian Model"
Hazem Abdel Rahman observed in pro-government Al-Ahram (3/22): "President Clinton conducted the first visit to India in 22 years.... Logically, the nuclear arms issue led the talks.... The American president will not be able to teach Indians how to respect human rights, because India has presented a unique, Western-style democratic model while confirming its political and economic...independence. It stands strongly against Western attempts to impose subordination on the region. Unlike Pakistan, it has never been a member of the military alliances or NATO and U.S. plots.... India has presented a model of true rotation of power in a developing country without a single threat to nuclear security.... Most probably, the Kashmir issue, which has become a new Berlin Wall, will be tackled in Clinton's talks. A peaceful settlement will need radical local and regional changes by the three disputing parties, China, Pakistan and India."
TUNISIA: "A Visit With Multiple Objectives"
Senior editor Noureddine Hlaoui had this to say independent Le Temps (3/22): "The principal objective of the American president's visit to South Asia is to obtain a high profile poiltical achievement before he leaves office.... Given the uncertainties of the Middle East peace process, Clinton has opted to hedge his bets by being seen as trying to reduce the tension between India and Pakistan. However, even if no tangible results come out of this visit, Clinton will be seen as trying to make progress on Kashmir and as making a genuine effort to get India to sign the [CTBT.]... Hence, in practical terms, what the United States is looking for is closer bilateral relations with India, which, until now, has been considered Russia's strategic ally."
CANADA "Nuclear Chicken On The Subcontinent"
Under the sub-heading, "Kashmir is known as 'the world's most dangerous border,'" columnist Eric Margolis wrote in the conservative National Post (3/23): "Only the United States has the power to prevent the deadly Kashmir confrontation from turning into a potential calamity for the entire globe. But Indian leaders curtly told Clinton no outside mediation would be welcome after he called on Delhi to talk to Pakistan about Kashmir. Clinton did not apparently raise the 1947 UN Security Council resolution mandating a plebiscite to determine Kashmir's future, which India refuses to accept. Some claim Kashmir is a 'Himalayan Kosovo' that should be ignored. This is dead wrong: In spite of India's refusal to negotiate, urgent international action is needed before Kashmir becomes a second Sarajevo or Danzig."
BRAZIL: "Clinton Will Try To Convince India And Pakistan To Trade"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo predicted (3/20): "President Clinton…will try to convince the governments of India and Pakistan that both countries have much more to gain with a mutually cooperative relationship based on trade, rather than continuing military hostilities.... The fact of that Mr. Clinton is approaching the end of his mandate and the rejection by the U.S. Senate last year of the [CTBT], makes Clinton's mission more complicated."
MEXICO: "Educating Bill: India, First Lesson"
Independent, centrist Milenio observed (3/20): "Clinton arrives in India with a suitcase full with good intentions, but without a project to start a 'strategic alliance' or at least to establish a new diplomatic relationship, free of the mutual distrust that existed during the Cold war. India does not like to receive lessons from the United States on the dangers of atomic weapons.... And it is not expected that during the trip, Clinton will insist on the [CTBT]. Is there any topic that India is open to discussing without problems? Fortunately, yes: bilateral economic relations. The first trip in two decades by a U.S president to India will not represent the beginning of a new strategic alliance. If things go right, it will only be the beginning of a new friendship that will be there when needed."
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